What is Chocolate Bloom (and how to avoid it!)

Chocolate bloom is a white / grayish coating (or blotches or streaks) that can appear on the surface of chocolate. Although it may have an unappetizing appearance and texture, chocolate that has "bloomed" is still generally safe to eat. There are actually two forms of chocolate bloom, Fat Bloom and Sugar Bloom, read more about these below.

Fat Bloom:

Fat bloom happens if the chocolate has encountered temperature changes. Fat bloom is when the fat (cocoa butter) melts and separates itself from the cocoa solids. As the cocoa butter re-solidifies it works its way to the surface of the chocolate, leaving those gray streaks or white blotches.

Fat bloom is often due to poor storage conditions. Chocolate hates temperature changes, and should be stored and set in a cool, dry location. Chocolate should never be placed or stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

But, more often than not, fat bloom is caused by improper tempering. To temper chocolate correctly, the temperature of melted chocolate has to be steadily raised and lowered and then raised again to create uniform cocoa butter crystals Beta 5. If this isn’t done right, the cocoa butter crystals will form in different sizes and show as a fat bloom on the surface. Tempering chocolate properly is a tedious and time consuming task, which is why most chocolate professionals use a chocolate tempering machine.

Fat bloom does affect the color and sometimes texture of the chocolate, turning it soft and crumbly. But, in most cases it is still safe to eat and usually doesn’t effect the taste. When fat bloom occurs it is perfectly safe to melt down the chocolate again, and re-temper.

Sugar Bloom:

Sugar bloom happens when chocolate is exposed to moisture. It is the result of water, in the form of dampness or condensation, interacting with the chocolate. Just like the cocoa butter in fat bloom, the sugar separates itself in sugar bloom. This will cause your chocolate to look white and grainy.

When chocolate is stored or exposed to warm or moist conditions, moisture collects on the surface of the chocolate and draws out the sugar. and then this dries and crystalizes on the surface. Sugar bloom can be avoided by keeping chocolate away from moisture and storing it in a cool, dry location (not in the refrigerator or freezer!).

If the sugar bloom is mild, the chocolate may be saved by scraping the bloom off. However, if the bloom is severe you may need to use new chocolate (but, you can still use the chocolate in other recipes, perfect for baking or melting!).

How To Avoid Bloom:

  • Always make sure your chocolate is stored in a cool dry place (before and after tempering).
  • Make sure you are working within the ideal room conditions (when tempering and setting): Room temp: 68-72°F. Room humidity should not exceed 50%. Use an AC unit to regulate if needed.
  • Use a chocolate tempering machine to properly temper chocolate.
  • Never store your chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer (before or after tempering)
  • Ensure your melted / tempered chocolate (and finished product) does not come into contact with ANY water or condensation (or high humidity). Make sure all machine parts, tools and utensils are dried completely before they touch the chocolate (make sure anything you dip into the chocolate is dry, wet items like berries and fruit can also cause bloom!).
  • Make sure your chocolate is new and fresh (older chocolate will have more tendency to bloom). While you may have just purchased it, it could have been siting in a warehouse for a while (subject to temperature changes), so it is important to get your chocolate from a reputable supplier who offers fresh chocolate that has been stored properly.

If you follow all of the tips, and you still see bloom, you may wish to contact your chocolate supplier for help with the particular chocolate you are using to see if they can offer any further suggestions.